(Reuters) – Qatar’s government announced measures to help private sector businesses on Saturday after its economy was hurt by sanctions imposed by other Arab states.
Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani decided to cut rents paid by companies in Qatar’s logistics zones in half during 2018 and 2019, official news agency QNA reported.
New investors in the zones will be completely exempt from paying rents for a year if they obtain building permits by certain deadlines. Qatar Development Bank, a state-founded body which lends to firms, will postpone receiving loan instalments for up to six months to facilitate industrial sector projects.
Sheikh Abdullah also told all ministries and government departments to increase their procurement of local products to 100 percent from 30 percent, if the local products meet necessary specifications and the purchases obey tender rules.
Qatar’s economy expanded just 0.6 percent from a year earlier in the April-June quarter, its slowest growth since the 2009-2010 global financial crisis, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties on June 5.
The four states accuse Doha of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies. The sanctions triggered a pull-out of deposits by Gulf states from Qatari banks, deepened a slump in real estate prices and caused a plunge of 18 percent in the stock market. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Alison Williams)